Book and Movie of the Year 2017

book and movie of the year edited

About the Award

The True and Pure Book and Movie of the Year Award is an unofficial, created-by-me award. I recognize what I consider the best book I read and the best movie I saw in the previous year, along with a runner-up in each category.

Starting this year, I will make an effort to choose more modern books rather than classics; we can all agree that most classics are classics for a reason, and my goal is to help you find amazing books that you might not have heard about or might be unsure about. Plus this will help me narrow it down a little bit. But the award in general is not limited to media that was released this year. I choose out of everything I read and watched in the course of the year, not only things that are brand-new.

See previous awards here:

Book and Movie of the Year 2015

Book and Movie of the Year 2016

Book of the Year: The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp (2016)

Runner-Up: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (2016)

Image result for the broken wayImage result for vinegar girl

About the winner: 

New York Times best-selling author Ann Voskamp sits at the edge of her life and all of her own unspoken brokenness and asks: What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives — and one that The Broken Way – also a New York Times bestseller – rises up to explore in the most unexpected ways.  (from Goodreads)

The Broken Way, if read and digested carefully, is a life-changing book. Voskamp’s writing style is painfully beautiful; her words are filled with hope and joy; the truths that she speaks of are truths that we all need to be reminded of again and again. It is a beautiful book that every Christian should read, no matter your situation, and store up in their hearts for a time when life may be a struggle.

Read my earlier review: The Broken Way: Finding Beauty in Brokenness and Suffering.

About the runner-up: 

Kate Battista feels stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny?

Dr. Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr, all would be lost. When Dr. Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to bring her around? (from Goodreads)

Vinegar Girl is just so much fun. It’s a touching, sweet, funny romance novel that doesn’t feel like a romance novel at all, taking The Taming of the Shrew and perfectly transplanting it into modern life. This is one of those books that I will probably reread over and over, and recommend to everyone. It’s especially perfect if you’re looking for a light, enjoyable beach read that still has substance.

Read my Goodreads review: Vinegar Girl.

Movie of the Year: Les Miserables (2012)

Runner-Up: Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical (2017)

Image result for les miserables movieImage result for disney's newsies the broadway musical

About the winner: 

Jean Valjean, known as Prisoner 24601, is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert. Set in post-revolutionary France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion. (from IMDb)

Note that I have not read the book, so I won’t be able to compare quality in that regard; but I watched Les Miserables for the first time back in January and absolutely loved it. It is a serious, rather dark, sometimes hard-to-watch movie, but it has a beautiful, hopeful conclusion that is missing from so much of today’s media. The music is so powerful as well, and adds to the development of its soaring themes. (Warning: there is some content that you may want to research beforehand. Most of it is easily fast-forwardable. Overall I wouldn’t recommend this movie for those under 14.)

About the runner-up: 

Set in New York City at the turn of the century and based on a true story, Newsies is the rousing tale of Jack Kelly, a charismatic newsboy and leader of a ragged band of teenaged ‘newsies,’ who dreams only of a better life far from the hardship of the streets. But when publishing titans Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst raise distribution prices at the newsboys’ expense, Jack finds a cause to fight for and rallies newsies to his side. (from IMDb)

This played in theaters one evening this year, and my sister and I went to see it with some friends. It was awesome. We love the musical, and it was so great to get to see the whole show with all the epic dancing! Best of all, I think it’s on Netflix now, so if you’re looking for a feel-good musical to brighten your winter, go check it out! I definitely need to watch it again soon.


What do you think? Have you read/watched my selections? If so, did you like them as much as I did? What are your favorite books and movies of 2017? I’d love to know! 

love, grace



The Broken Way: Finding Beauty in Brokenness and Suffering

Image result for the broken way

The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp

My Rating: Five Stars

Age Suggestion: 12+

The Book

What if you really want to live abundantly before it’s too late? What do you do if you really want to know abundant wholeness? This is the one begging question that’s behind every single aspect of our lives.

This one’s for the lovers and the sufferers. For those whose hopes and dreams and love grew so large it broke their willing hearts. This one’s for the busted ones who are ready to bust free, the ones ready to break molds, break chains, break measuring sticks, and break all this bad brokenness with an unlikely good brokenness.  You could be one of the Beloved who is broken — and still lets yourself be loved.

You could be one of them, one who believes freedom can be found not only beyond the fear and pain, but actually  within it.

You could discover and trust this broken way — the way to not be afraid of broken things.

(from Amazon with edits)

My Thoughts

This book is, to put it simply, one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read.

I bought it a while back when I was at Barnes and Noble, and had put it at the end of my stack of books waiting to be read. But one day when I was having a particularly bad day, I needed something to encourage me and grabbed this book off the shelf. Wow, was it exactly what I was looking for.

The Broken Way is a raw, deeply personal, beautifully reflective exploration of how to navigate suffering as a Christian, and if you are going through something right now this book will absolutely speak to your soul. I cannot recommend it enough for those of you who are undergoing suffering of your own.

Even if you aren’t going through suffering, still read it! It addresses both the big suffering and the little, everyday stresses and worries that bother us all, giving a way to get through the general imperfection of life.

Ann Voskamp is one of the most talented writers alive today, and reading her writing is a unique experience unlike anything else. There were so many moments where I had to stop and read a phrase out loud to myself, slowly, and reflect on it before reading on, because it hit me so hard.

I have a feeling this will be one of my most-read, battered, scribbled-in-the-margins books in the years to come. It’s the kind of book that will change your life if you let it, the kind of book that every Christian should read and re-read and savor and live by.

Favorite Quotes (for just a taste of the beauty) 

“Blessed are those who are sad, who mourn, who feel the loss of what they love – because they will be held by the One who loves them. There is a strange and aching happiness only the hurting know – for they shall be held.” (18)

“So then as long as thanks was possible, then joy was always possible. The holy grail of joy was not in some exotic location or some emotional mountain peak experience. The joy wonder could be here, in the messy, piercing ache of now.” (29)

“Your life is unwreckable. Because Christ’s love is unstoppable. What seems to be undoing you can ultimately remake you.” (146)

“Feelings are meant to be fully felt and then fully surrendered to God. The word emotion comes from the Latin for ‘movement’ – and all feelings are meant to move you toward God.” (182)

“Jesus comes to give you freely through His passion what every other god forces you to try to get through performance…How can I not ache with a grateful love for a compassion like this? And how could His compassion for me not compel me to give His compassion to the aching?” (228)


What do you think? Have you read The Broken Way? If so, did you love it as much as I did? If not, will you read it now? Share in the comments! 

love, grace

Read More:

Check out my Facebook page for a mini-review of Beauty and the Beast.

8 Books Every Christian Teen Should Read

Book Review: Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review: The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

After the Rain: Lessons from a Stormy Day

after the rain2.jpg

That afternoon, the motivation wouldn’t come. Homework piled up, not to mention my own list of goals and plans. The guilt set in. The tears came. Dragging myself to dance class was the last thing I wanted to do, but at the last possible second, balled-up tissue in hand, I threw my hair up and gathered my stuff and made myself walk out the door.

It was raining.

My first reaction was disgust. Now, on top of everything else, I had to drive in pouring rain. The weather confirmed my gloomy mood.

But as I got into the car and turned the keys in the ignition, I was reminded of something God had taught me a few days ago, something I could learn from the rain, something I had been so excited to share.

Rain is a wonderful metaphor for the suffering in our lives. No one likes it while it’s around. We see it as depressing, frustrating. But without the rain nothing would grow. We would have no grass, flowers, trees, greenery. The world would be dry and dead. God always knows exactly when to send rain, exactly when the ground needs watering so that things can grow as He wills.

Rain brings growth. 

Suffering is like that. It’s unpleasant, scary, sad. But with suffering comes incredible growth. The sadness of one season is preparation, so that in the coming sunny season we can bloom and grow in glorious shades of green.

And as I drove down the street in the dark, windshield wipers on full blast, I thought about the metaphor and tears began to stream down my face again. But this time it was from fullness, not emptiness. The rain, rather than being one more problem, was a symbol for what God was doing in my heart that night, and I will never forget the feeling once I knew that. As it poured down, it mirrored my tears. And I knew that my heart was being watered, my faith was being deepened, and that the next day would bring the flowers.

“There is no fear in letting tears come. Sadness is a gift to avoid the nothingness of numbness, and all hard places need water. Grief is a gift, and after a rain of tears, there is always more of you than before. Rain always brings growth.”

-from The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp, chapter 11 (“Breaking Into Being Real”)

love, grace